Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Winter Tour 2015, Come Swing With Me! I can't do it for you, but I'll do it with you!

Last January I spent a few days in Milwaukee Wisconsin with my friend Diana lured with the promise of snowshoeing!  I grew up in California rarely leaving the state for most of my life, and yes, it's true, we do have snow in CA, but it's a 4 hour drive from where I am, and it's cold when it snows!  Besides, Diana's not here!  I had so much fun that this year I decided to lengthen the trip and include a quick stop in St Paul Minnesota to spend some time with my bestie Fawn Friday.  And since I'm going to be away from home for so long I need to swing on the road.....Winter Swing Tour 2015 was born :)  Funny story....when I called Fawn to ask if I could come, in January, she said, "You know it's going to be cold!"  But what better way to generate some heat than to swing?

Lucky me once "word" got out that I was planning on visiting Milwaukee again and wanting to find a place to teach a Swing Class, good old Facebook comes to the rescue!  Ryan Toshner of TNT Performance opened up his gym for me to offer a 1 hour Swing Class! ( (or find them on Facebook;  But Milwaukee is my second stop after St Paul, so I'll also be leading two swing classes at Fawn Friday Kettlebell Studio (, or find Fawn on FB;

Monday January 5th Fawn Friday Kettlebell Training

Thursday January 8th TNT Performance

Cost is $30 per person
Register by December 10th for a special surprise....almost as special as over 1000 swing reps!  lol

You will find links to sign up here on my blog (on the left sidebar) via Paypal.

If you live close enough to trek through the snow to come and swing with me I'd love to have you.....and there is no better way to kick off the New Year, and in fact kick off the New Year starting NOW, because you better start training for it!  I think it could be a great goal for anybody to stick to, or start, a regular swing practice during a time when typically people slack off, eat more and move less!

The class will be scalable to all levels, the only requirement is that you already know a proper and safe kettlebell swing.  This is not a class that I will teach the movement to new students, but I'll be leading beginning-advanced students through choreographed interval swing routines, TracyStyle!  If you need to learn how to swing then now is the time to contact Ryan or Fawn and get some practice in so you can join the fun!  Seriously, now's the time :)

And speaking of "Now's the Time"  This past week I celebrated one year of my 10 x 10 video posts.  It didn't start out all that pretty!  In fact I was motivated by a couple of friends that had contacted me for help because they had fallen off the wagon....the swing wagon!  So I'm sharing again, the very first 10 x 10 workout video I posted last year, AND my most recent 10 x 10....and you can find over 100 more on Youtube!  BUT better yet you an find me in person this January in St Paul and Milwaukee!

Some of you might remember this.....and if you haven't been training then it's perfect time for a reminder!  I can't do it for you....but I will do it with you!

And I'll continue because it not what I do, it's who I am...and I love it.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thursday 10 x 10 combining sets, and "Man Pie"?

As I posted recently, all of my swing workouts these days are based on The Swing workouts, mostly #7, #8 and #9.  In yesterday's 10 x 10 video I demo how to take two of the sets of 10 reps "combining" them into a longer 20 rep set (longer set = longer rest!), similar to what I've been practicing in my own swing training.

10 x 10

10 2 hd swings x 2 sets
5 R/ 5 L x 2 sets
5/5 + 10 2 hd sw x 2 sets
5/5 x 1 set
10 2 hd sw x 1 set

100 swings, 5 minutes


Man Pie?

Over the past couple of weeks I've made a few batches of chutney using the pineapple guavas Meg brought me from her tree.  I've made chutneys in the past, mostly serving them with cheese and crackers, but there are only so much cheese and so many crackers a person can eat!  Chutney freezes well, and I am saving some for another time, but I wanted to figure out more ways of eating/using it.

I can't quite remember now how I came up with the idea of using the chutney in a savory pie, similar to an empanada, using ground beef, and a vegetarian option using sweet potatoes and black beans, but somehow I did!  Like practically every recipe I come up with the process evolves from the original idea.

The original idea was making a top and bottom pastry crust, filling one with ground beef and chutney, and the other with roasted sweet potato, black beans and chutney....but I found a bottom and top crust was too much pastry, and that equals too many calories per serving!  So I started thinking about how to get rid of the bottom crust....ah, sweet potato!  So I ended up combining both versions together.  I layered sliced sweet potato on the bottom, added my browned ground beef (and onion), black beans, then spread the chutney over that, and topped the pie with a pastry crust.  

I wasn't 100% that all of these flavors were just my own crazy tastes so I gave my training partners each a slice to take home and report back!  Everyone said it was pretty good, and it was Deepika that called it "Man Pie"! (maybe because of the meat?)  So there you go, the name sticks!

Man Pie

1 med sweet potato (yam) sliced thin
1 lb ground beef cooked with 1/2 diced onion, drained of fat and cooled
1 c. black beans (if using canned, drain and rinse)
1 c. chutney (you an use store bought Mango chutney)
1 Pillsbury Pie Crust, the one find already made in the refrigerator section that you simply unroll (shhhh, I won't tell if you don't tell!)
1 egg to brush on top of the pastry

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45-55 minutes until the top crust is golden and crisp.  Enjoy!

PS one of my favorite secret cooking "cheats" is Pillsbury all ready made pie crusts that you unroll out of the package!  I happen to make an awesome homemade pastry but what I lack in time is only second to my lack of counter space to use my rolling pin!  Besides, I promise, no one will ever question if it's a store bought crust because you can still make the edges the way you like and design the top steam holes in your own pattern :)  What's your secret cooking "cheat"?

See! I have to remind you to season (salt) each ingredient?  The sweet potato (after you layer it), when you cook the beef, and to the black beans after you rinse them. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Yukon Gold!

Now that I've gotten over my fear of potatoes I forgot how delicious Yukon Gold's were!  I've always made Mark potato salad, you know, the good old fashioned kind with tons of mayonnaise.  For years and years I didn't allow myself to eat it (or much of it) in fear of the extra "carbs" and although I'm not afraid of fats, traditional potato salad has a ton of it.  Having the behavior of overeating in my history I was not to be trusted....isn't this all crazy?  Fast forward.  This post is not about old habits and behaviors of overeating, it's about potato salad! Yukon Gold and Green Bean Salad with a simple Mustard Dressing to be exact.

I was in the market the other day and saw these small gold potatoes.  All of a sudden my mind clicked back to the memory of these buttery yummies and I decided to buy a handful for a small batch of some kind of salad.  Lately I've been steaming most all of my cooked veggies for salads using my pressure cooker.  It takes so little time, literally one minute for green beans and about 10 minutes for potatoes (5 min cook, 5 min rest), but the best thing about steaming as opposed to boiling is that you retain more nutrients in the foods you are cooking.

Most salads need no more than oil and vinegar and this one is no different.  Red wine vinegar, olive oil and a spoonful of grainy mustard was all I used.  Steamed potatoes, green beans and a finely diced shallot, and with only those 6 ingredients, viola.  Super yummy goodness :)  

A few tips for making potato salads (and if you have any other good ones please share!)

#1 Save the potato water you boil or steam the veggies in!  Instead of using more oil or mayonnaise you can use the starchy water to thin out and adjust the consistency of the finished salad without making it heavier, thicker and more calorie dense.

#2 Boil or steam the potatoes unpeeled if you want to save some time, once they cool enough to handle the skin simply slides off.

#3 Once the potatoes are skinned and diced, season with your salt and some vinegar while still warm.  Seasoning the potatoes when they are warm insures greater absorption of flavor. 

Since I really don't count olive oil, vinegar or mustard an "ingredient", these should be fridge and pantry items you always have on hand, this recipe only has three things you need to pick up at the market.  Yukon Gold potatoes, green beans and a shallot.  Speaking of shallot, that poor forgotten onion, a red onion is a fine substitute but I find shallots milder, sweeter and maybe even a hint of garlic taste.

What is your favorite way of preparing potato salad?  Or do you not eat potatoes?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dive Back In

Sometimes Youtube will not show some of my videos in some countries.  I'm not sure if this is because of copy write laws with the music that plays in the background.  A couple of people let me know that they could not see the latest video I posted on FB of yesterday's GS 14kg snatch set (89R/95L) so I'm going to give it a go, here on my blog.

I'll be posting more about my recent dive back into GS Sport.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Why an OTM workout replacement for Thursday 10 x 10?

Every Thursday is a heavy swing day.  Nothing super heavy these days, but after 20-30 solid minutes w/16kg I'll throw in another 10-20 minutes with heavy double bells and or single 24kg and higher.  What I mean by 10-20 minutes is that I train in 4-6 week "cycles".  A cycle is when you start out one week with a baseline of weights/reps/time, nothing too difficult, but nothing easy either, and add a certain percentage of difficulty week by week, leading up to a really challenging workout.  Then you back off, lighten the loading for a couple weeks and start all over again, but with a slightly different goal.  The goal is always to increase the loading over the cycle, but slightly differently using a variety of swings, say for instance two hand swings versus one hand swings, or short double bell sets versus long single bell sets, etc.

Yesterdays workout I decided to go really heavy (for me) and had to dial back the routine to my basic "OTM" baseline starting point.  I haven't swung the 28kg for a while so I had no idea how many reps I could do solidly and cleanly before I broke form.  I knew for sure I could do 10 otm and so I started with 12.  12 was fairly easy so I jumped right up to 14.  At this point I thought it smart to only jump one rep at a time, the eventual goal is 20 (equal work to rest).  The goal is not the rep count, the goal is to do up to 20 reps per 30 second work/rest intervals with solid strength, form and power.  The goal is not to suffer through 20 reps with weaker and weaker reps!  

I have three weeks before I leave for my next trip and therefore over the next few workouts I will increase my rep counts accordingly. Here were my rep counts alternating a single 28kg and double 14kg's;

12 x 2 (one set w/28kg, one set w/dbl 14kg's)
14 x 2
15 x 2
16 x 2
17 x 2 this is where I felt the beginning of the loss of power so I backed down one rep
16 x 2 I felt I  needed to back down again
15 x 2 this is where I felt solid again so I stayed here until the end
15 x 6 more sets

total of 20 sets done OTM
300 swings x 28kg = 8,400kg moved

Next week's workout's goal is to increase the total amount of weight moved by around 8-10%, which equals about 24-30 reps.

Now you know what inspired Thursday's 10 x 10 replacement to demonstrate that no matter where your starting point is, going back to a basic OTM workout is always a good place to begin!  I've been training the swing since 2005 and here I am again using this method.  It's always relevant :)  

Where's your starting point?  Using the demo video above, swing with me, taking note (mentally and literally) when your strength, form, and technique start to give way, and then work your way up from here.

ps I've been cooking up a storm so a food/recipe post is way overdue and coming next :)